Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 - Xbox 360 FIRST LOOK review

Still regarded as one of the Xbox 360’s best online titles, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter continues to be played by thousands of 360 owning online gamers every single night of the week.

And now with the much craved GRAW 2 single-player demo now available via the Xbox Live Marketplace, we bring you our thoughts from this early code.

Just like its older brother, GRAW 2 is a gorgeous looking title. More of a tweaked graphics engine than a full re-write, it’s the lighting effects and explosions that really show off the new level of graphical sheen added to this sequel.

The demo missions itself begins with strangely little fanfare – though thankfully little time sat staring at a "loading screen either" – and almost instantly introduces the little fact that you can now control the UAV Cypher itself to spy on the enemies ahead of you. Though despite your commander’s encouragement to keep a safe distance in order to avoid being shot down, there was only one sign of any kind of danger during this demo mission. And in all honesty, we we’re being very risky too. Perhaps something that’ll need to be tweaked before the full release?

It’s not too long before you first control the MULE multi-tasking device too. Unlike the last title, the MULE isn’t merely something to keep you supplied with all the weaponry you’ll need. This time around you’ll find yourself controlling this ugly little thing all by yourself as part of the new "Cross Cam 2.0" military system. Just to what extent you can utilise the MULE in the heat of battle remains to be seen – we’re particularly eager to see just how it’ll affect gaming online – but it’s certainly another bow to be added to an already impressive armoury.

After the early section see’s you clear a small enemy outpost, you’re next tasked with neutralising the enemy presence at the entrance of a large enemy camp. Packing a cracking little sniper rifle thanks to the MULE – a sniper rifle that can fire through thin walls by the way - this next section highlights just what kind of hectic action these modern day Ghost Recon titles are packing.

With the number of hostiles approaching double figures, you slowly and methodically snipe the enemies you’ve previously spotted with the UAV Cypher. Crawling along the dusty hillside you find yourself inhabiting, you have to keep low to the ground in order to avoid the fire whistling around your head.

But once these few are despatched with, you’re finally handed control of three team-mates. Much like the last title – and the thoughtful Brothers In Arms series – directing your team-mates is an absolute breeze with only a few button prods required to utilise some well thought tactics. Though early impressions seem to point towards your team mates sadly not being the brightest bunch akin to the last GRAW title.

Not that tactics are the first thing on your mind as mortar fire begins to blast away at the local tundra all around you and your squad as you frantically rush for cover.

Your next task is clearing the oncoming enemy camp, and this is where things really heat up. With enemy fire emanating from all directions, you need to make solid use of the few handily placed barrels to keep yourself from being overwhelmed. The new cover system working much like the methods used in both Rainbow Six: Vegas and Gears of War, and to great effect too.

After a few minutes of total standstill, not one, but two enemy helicopters descend close to the ground, adding even more power to the enemies already beefy might and things are looking ridiculously bleak as the demo comes to a close.

Verdict

A cracking first impression? Undoubtedly. After the city based battling seen in GRAW, the more open countryside setting on this early mission certainly gives GRAW 2 the upper hand. How it’ll work in terms of multiplayer action remains to be seen, but signs are all pointing to good from our time with this early code. Ubisoft seems to be on to yet another winner.